Wii U Naught

Wii U - Super Mario 3D World

Remember that time I pined over the Wii U? You know, lingering a little too long in the electronics aisle of every department store, calculating the cost of accessories and desired games, searching online for the best deal…? Finally, after months or more of looking longingly at the doggy in the window, I shelled out nearly $500 on the Wii U Console and some costly Nintendo paraphernalia.

“Do you think this Gamepad needs a silicone case? How about a battery charging station for the controllers? Do you think it comes with at least one controller?” I asked A, hovering over Best Buy’s colorful display of Wii U gear.

She looked at me with that whatever-you-want smile she’s so good at, and you know, I indulged. The cashier who rung me up apologized 19 times for everything from fumbling with the bag to asking to look at my debit card. He was probably 17, dreaming of one day being so lucky as to be a big kid with a job. I was already feeling guilty—the same guilt I had talked myself out of an hour before. A had a little intervention.

“Why do you feel so guilty? You work hard.”

I couldn’t argue. She was right. When I wasn’t working, I was thinking about work, worrying about work, keeping myself awake with tagline ideas and new ways to say “delicious.” This was the lifestyle I chose… no children, no house, no major traveling, no shopping spree debt, two jobs. I am good with money: I save for what I want and shop sales. Unfortunately, my school loan debt could fill a small room with one dollar bills, but.

“But what?” she would insist.

But there are people in my life that could use more money for mortgages and daycare. What about all my friends who can’t even afford health insurance (Affordable Healthcare Act or not)? What about that scruffy 50-something that stands on the triangular median at the Walmart plaza red light with a sign that reads: “War vet with 3 kids. Will work. God Bless!” (Who am I to ask what a 50, more like 60-something man is doing with 3 kids?)

After some cajoling, A made her point. Really, I’m unmarried with nothing really to call my own but the few things in my room and the car I just paid off. I don’t get to look into the eyes of my children, care for them, tie shoes, tuck anyone in. Shit. Really, all I have is maybe the enjoyment I might get out of this Wii. That will do it.

Then, I took it back.

After a night of it—Mario and Peach bopping mushroom-headed Goombas and meandering Koopa Troopas—I sat up in bed decidedly ready to go back to my un-Wii life. It was fun, I reasoned, but not fun enough to take away from the rest of my life. Not $500-and-counting fun. I started to imagine the things I could do with $500 that I wouldn’t let myself spend otherwise: a new lens for my camera, those maroon-colored trousers from American Eagle I’d been eying up, the $55 pack of metal alphabet stamps for making my Christmas gifts… hell, I could go on a small vacation! Besides all that, it was confusing. There was a screen on my controller, about 19 more directions to move, other controllers with two parts to it conjoined by a wire. Man, I’m getting old.

I spend so much time trying to fit in all the stuff I love to do, from ukulele playing to doodling to writing, that adding another (useless and distracting) item to the list seems foolish. I’ll never play it. I’ll never take the 10 minutes just to set it up to play. So I took the damn thing back, realizing what I was really craving was some unproductive fun—without feeling guilty, without looking ahead to the next item of business or errand or chore. I’m regressing, folks.

And so I spent $16 on a Logitech controller, plugged it into my computer and played some old-school Mario 3 (Nintendo) and had a blast. Albeit, I’ve been waging about 15 minutes a day here and there, which is just enough for me. And you know what? It was more fun and much less complicated than that crazy Wii U—even if you could be Mario in a cat suit crawling around on all fours.

I hope you find your relaxing, unproductive, belly filling happy place this Thanksgiving (without the guilt)! <3